Google+ Authentic Parenting: Six Ways to Improve Behavior Without Resorting to Punishment

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Six Ways to Improve Behavior Without Resorting to Punishment

Post donated by Alex S.

Punishment sets a bad vibe between parent and child.  It forces the former to behave in an uncomfortably authoritarian way, while creating resentment in the latter by reminding kids of their borderline slave status.  Punishments, especially of the corporal variety, are particularly silly when you consider how humans are built to embrace reason and understanding.  When it comes to improving the behavior of a child, such negative means of proving a point ought to be avoided at all costs.  Instead, parents ought to embrace less punitive forms of behavior modification.

The following six should be plenty to help get you started:

Image: Lance Shields 
Look for a simple solution: If your five-year-old has the inquisitive habit of messing around with your iPad when you leave the room, dust-off that old laptop from college and give it to her as a plaything instead of banning her from using your tablet.

Allow for natural repercussions: Let's say your son never refills the ice cube trays he empties.  Assign every family member a tray and allow for the consequences of his actions to affect him on their own.

Plan ahead of time: You're dreading that upcoming extended church service with your three kids in tow.  Make sure to include some quiet little toys in their Easter gift baskets for them to bring along instead of expecting them to resist being kids.  A little preparation goes a long way in avoiding punitive responses to bad behavior.

Negotiate: Sometimes all it takes is to ask your child to take their energy into another room or to settle on a certain number of consumed carrots to effectively resolve a disagreement.  Be willing to compromise with your child.  He or she will appreciate it at any age.

Communicate: Explain to your child why his or her actions are not acceptable.  Listen to their side of the argument, and take the time to understand why your child is committing these actions, even if the reasoning itself is not reasonable.  Making the distinction between right and wrong apparent at the moment of wrongdoing is critical.

Demonstrate: Parents have to be prepared to practice what they preach.  Simply showing your child the correct way to do something - such as how to tap a keyboard instead of mash it - will achieve the results you want without all the drama that goes along with scolding and punishing.

Considering how humans have evolved into the highly intelligent organisms that we are, there's really no reason to have to resort to punitive parenting measures.  Children are fully capable of grasping the concept of right and wrong without being forced into a negative experience, and parents have the obligation to afford them such an opportunity.

This post was sponsored by Giraffe Childcare Dublin


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1 comment:

  1. YES! As parents, we often resort to punishment because we have no tools left in our toolbox. Punishing does NOTHING to teach. It is only by teaching our kids a better way to do things that we create change. Teach for a better tomorrow!

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